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an interisland sea in the western part of the Pacific Ocean, in the Bismarck Archipelago. It has an area of about 310,000 sq km, an average depth of 1,700 m, and a maximum depth of 2,665 m. The sea floor is an aggradational plain with a large number of small elevations and islands of volcanic origin. The sea has numerous coral reefs, and the coastlines it washes are comparatively even. The New Guinea Current moves at a speed of 50–75 cm per sec along the island of New Guinea, and there are strong tidal currents in the straits between the islands. The average surface water temperature is 28°C, and the salinity, 34 parts per thousand. The principal ports are Madang on New Guinea and Rabaul on New Britain.